There is no manual to teach us how to be parents. We have to make it up as we go along. Many times, instinct guides us and we do the right thing. But not always. As human beings, every one of us makes mistakes. Owning up to them, laughing at them, and apologizing for them is part of being a good parent. It shows your children that it’s ok to make mistakes, and important to admit them and apologize for them.
For example, Rachel’s mother picked her daughter up from preschool every day at 11:45. One particular day, she got involved in a phone call and completely lost track of time. When she hung up, it was 11:40 and she lived 15 minutes from school. She immediately called the school to say she’d be late, so they could prepare her daughter. That’s very important. You need to manage your kids’ expectations. Knowing that her mother would be late, Rachel’s teachers involved her in a project, and provided the comfort and assurance that would keep her happy until her mother arrived.
When her mom did show up, she first apologized to the teachers for keeping them the extra time. Then, she apologized to her daughter. She told her the truth that she got caught up on the phone and lost track of time. She said she was sorry and promised to pay more attention from now on.
Rachel’s mother could have just as easily made up an excuse to both the school and her daughter for her tardiness. But, really, what’s the point? Not only is honesty the best policy… but we all make mistakes. Rachel learned that mistakes happen and it’s ok. Everything turned out fine.